Pittosporum tenuifolium | Kōhūhū

Drainage:DampVery DryWell Drained
Height Range:10
Site Conditions:CoastalExposedFrost TolerantHeavy SoilLoamy SoilSaltySandy SoilWindy
Sunlight:Full ShadeFull SunPartial Shade
Features:Attractive FlowersAttractive foliageAttractive to beesAttractive to BirdsAttractive to insectsSuitable for HedgingSuitable for Revegetation SpeciesSuitable for Shelter
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Pittosporum tenuifolium is endemic and widespread throughout New Zealand. Also known as Black Matipo or  Kōhūhū. This shrub makes an excellent hedge. The compact, small leaves provide privacy year-round and the shrub is low maintenance. Tolerates wind, drought, frost, coastal conditions. Sun or shade.

The leaf coverage is compact in kōhūhū. The leaves themselves are small and the edges are undulated. Leaf shape can range from oval to almost circular, depending on the source.  Adult leaves have a smooth, glossy texture.

The flowers colour ranges from dark-red to dark-purple turning almost black as the flowers age.  Nectar fills the flowers. The flowers exude a honey-scented fragrance in the evenings with the scent being more obvious in slightly damp conditions. This attracts moths and night-flying insects, New Zealand’s indigenous pollinators. Fertilised flowers develop into small fruits that blacken as they ripen.

Pittosporum tenuifolium is often found in dry woodland plant communities that include but are not limited to Olearia paniculata Discaria toumatou, Melicytus alpinus, Poa cita, and Muehlenbeckia axillaris. Also a useful riparian edge plant.

For more information on plant communities, we recommend DOC’s publication Native Plant Communities of the Canterbury Plains.

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